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In the wake of a shooting massacre inside in a Colorado movie theater, the Los Angeles Police Department is deploying extra officers -- many of them plainclothed -- to LA theaters in an effort to increase security out of what they call an abundance of caution. Michelle Valles reports from Hollywood for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 20, 2012.
Los Angeles area law enforcement have stepped up patrols around theaters in the wake of mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater that left 12 people dead and wounded 59.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies are patrolling movie theaters and areas where people are congregating, said Capt. Mike Parker, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman.
"While the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., appears to be an isolated incident, our vigilance has been raised," Parker said. "Our thoughts and prayers go to the many victims, families, friends, and first responders affected by this senseless crime."
Police in Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank have also checked movie theaters and determined there were no problems. Officers there said they would add extra patrols as appropriate.
Los Angeles police have also stepped up patrols.
In a statement released Friday, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said officers will be providing "high-visibility" patrols and undercover officers to major theaters in LA as well as at other sporting events, concerts and crowded venues.
LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith encouraged local residents to maintain plans to see "The Dark Knight Rises," which generated $30.6 million in midnight screenings at more than 3,800 theaters.
"I suggest people go out to the movies and have a great time,'' Smith said. "Go out and enjoy this movie, or any other movie you want. Don't let the actions of one guy doing a cowardly act in Colorado affect the movie-going experience for you and your family. Just be alert."
The National Association of Theater Owners said in a statement Friday that its members were "working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures."
Officers checked theaters in Hollywood early Friday that were showing "The Dark Knight Rises."
On Friday afternoon at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood, the mood was somber. The theater was collecting donations for the victims of the shooting.
"I'm going to think twice when I walk in the door: Oh, could this going to be a tragedy?" said moviegoer Liron Artzi.
LAPD Hollywood Division Sgt. Chuck Slater said officers checked theaters including the ArcLight and found no security issues and nothing suggesting a major plot.
"The theaters were made aware of the shooting and the potential for copycaters and what to look for," Slater said.
During morning roll call, officers were instructed to use an "immediate action rapid deployment plan" if a major incident were to occur in L.A., Slater said.
Movie-goers at the 3:30 a.m. ArcLight showing told NBC4 they were just learning of the shooting as they left the theater.
The shooting happened at 12:05 a.m. in Aurora. A man wearing a gas mask fired into a crowded theater and was later arrested. He was identified as James Holmes, a 24-year-old UC Riverside graduate and native of San Diego.
San Diego police were called out to the family's home and urged the media to respect the family's wishes of privacy.
"The Holmes family is very upset about all of this," said San Diego Police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown. "It's a tragic event. It's taken all of us by surprise."
At what was expected to be a campaign event Friday in Florida, Presdent Barack Obama devoted most of his comments to the Colorado massacre.
"This morning we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family," Obama told a crowd of supporters during an appearance in Fort Myers.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney issued a statement about the shooting: "We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice."
Warner Bros., meanwhile, canceled the Parisian premiere of the movie on Friday and called off media interviews with the cast and director Christopher Nolan.
"Warner Bros. is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident," the studio said in a statement. "We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time."